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Old 03-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #1
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Default Koch Brothers vs Cato

I'm surprised Brain, Jason, Blaen or em-geoff-row (how I pronounce and thus remember your seemingly non-phonetic screen name) haven't mentioned this at all.

SaveCato
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On March 1 Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch filed suit in a Kansas court, with the goal of taking control of the Cato Institute board of directors under Cato's long-dormant shareholder agreement.

The Cato community believes that if this suit succeeds, it would swiftly and irrevocably damage the Cato Institute's credibility as a non-partisan, independent advocate for free markets, individual liberty, and peace.

We are heartened by the public support that immediately emerged, and continues to come forward, for the Cato Institute, and have, in addition to statements from principals, legal filings, fact sheets, and more, posted some of these expressions below.

We will continue to update this site as the events go forward and as often as the litigation proceedings permit. We are grateful to those who share our commitment to libertarian principles, and to the integrity, independence, and nonpartisanship of the Cato Institute.
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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Not surprising, I guess.

I did learn that Teller (the silent half of Penn and Teller) and PJ O'Rourke are both fellows of the Cato Institute.



EDIT: My seemingly non-phonetic username is actually my first initial + last name.
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #3
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My seemingly non-phonetic username is actually my first initial + last name.
French-Albanian?
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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French-Albanian?
French-Huguenot.

It's a fairly rare name even in France. Lots of Geoffrion's, not many Geoffriau's.

Actually, my family has never come across another Geoffriau that wasn't immediately related to our known extended family.
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
French-Huguenot.

It's a fairly rare name even in France. Lots of Geoffrion's, not many Geoffriau's.
Haha. I knew it was an uncommon name, I just picked Albania at random, as I think it sounds funny and very few people actually know much at all about Albanians.


Anyway, on topic. A couple of quotes from the "Save Cato" link:

On the one hand:
The Kochs' goal is not to improve the stature nor effectiveness of the organization, but rather, to turn a venerable, independent and effective nonpartisan institution into yet another political arm of their vast empire.

(...)

The non-Koch-related directors of the Cato Institute feel strongly that an independent, nonpartisan think tank should steer clear of such associations and activities.



And on the other hand:
Cato has managed the difficult feat of becoming both a fount of true-blue libertarian ideas and a reputable source of information even for those who don't share its views.

(...)

Over the years, Cato has successfully injected libertarian views into Washington policy and political debates

(...)

Cato's strict libertarian line has been one of its advantages over the years.



Fact: Libertarianism is not the same thing as nonpartisanship. Quite the opposite, Libertarianism is a distinct school of political philosophies, which has its own set of very strong biases and viewpoints. The Libertarian Party is a recognized political affiliation within the US, just like the Republican Party of the Democratic Party.

A person who is a Libertarian is not neutral or unbiased. The fact that they have gone to the trouble of affiliating themselves with a "minority" party generally indicates that they are MORE biased than a person who "casually" affiliates with a more mainstream political party (eg: Republican, Democrat.)
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:15 PM   #6
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Haha. I knew it was an uncommon name, I just picked Albania at random, as I think it sounds funny and very few people actually know much at all about Albanians. [quote]

I don't think you're using the word "random" correctly there.

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Fact: Libertarianism is not the same thing as nonpartisanship. Quite the opposite, Libertarianism is a distinct school of political philosophies, which has its own set of very strong biases and viewpoints. The Libertarian Party is a recognized political affiliation within the US, just like the Republican Party of the Democratic Party.

A person who is a Libertarian is not neutral or unbiased. The fact that they have gone to the trouble of affiliating themselves with a "minority" party generally indicates that they are MORE biased than a person who "casually" affiliates with a more mainstream political party (eg: Republican, Democrat.)
Agreed, though I think this is mostly a case of imprecise language -- I'm guessing what they intended to convey is that they consider Cato to be non-bipartison. That is, they aren't hiding the fact that they are ideologically bound to a specific political worldview; they are attempting to argue that that worldview doesn't make them partisan to either of the two major political parties.

Of course, whether that's a reasonable argument is debatable in and of itself.
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:52 PM   #7
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What does the Cato Institute do? I see it was started by the Koch brothers, but now they want to take control of the board of directors? I iz confused.
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:59 PM   #8
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What does the Cato Institute do? I see it was started by the Koch brothers, but now they want to take control of the board of directors? I iz confused.
This is a big boy thread. It's better if you go to one that mostly has pictures.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
I don't think you're using the word "random" correctly there.
What I mean is that I chose Albania randomly from a large group of east-European nations whose names end in the letter "a" which are all similarly small and funny-sounding. Other potential choices included Bulgaria, Moldova, Macedonia, Croatia, Estonia and Solvenia. The selection of Albania from within this group was not the result of any specific deliberation, and any country in the list could have been substituted without altering the substance of the joke.

Eg: "French-Croatian?" "French-Bulgarian?" "French-Moldovan?" They all work equally well.




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Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
That is, they aren't hiding the fact that they are ideologically bound to a specific political worldview; they are attempting to argue that that worldview doesn't make them partisan to either of the two major political parties.
Well, I think that they are attempting to disguise the fact that they have a certain ideological bias, by using a combination of:

1: Reliance on the assumption that many people are not familiar with exactly what "libertarian" means,

2: The use of complex and ambiguous language, and

3: Hyperbole and scare-tactics, such as "Some of the new directors are Republican operatives" which, in my mind, evokes a cold-war-era image of Soviet Operatives infiltrating the US, attempting to sow dissent and erode the moral fabric of the nation.


Partisanship is not inherently evil. Nearly all of us are, to some extent or another, partisan in nature. All it means is that we share in the beliefs and ideals of a certain ideological group, and self-identify as a member of that group. As a broad generalization, Libertarians tend to be much more partisan than republicans or democrats (the so-called Tea Party movement would be one example of this.) I would put them at about the same level of partisanship as members of the three original factions which merged together to form the Cuban Communist Party (originally called the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations) in 1961.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:22 PM   #10
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This is a big boy thread. It's better if you go to one that mostly has pictures.
Thanks, I just spit Earl Grey tea onto my keyboard.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:35 PM   #11
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I AM a big boy...



I asked what I asked because it would seem that an organization such as the Cato Institute would be a non profit, but the Koch bros are trying to take over via a shareholder agreement, and I don't understand why a non profit would have shareholders. I know they have an ideological goal, but I don't understand how they are supposed to make money, and why would you buy a share of a company of you don't expect to make money?
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Shearhead_3:16 View Post
I asked what I asked because it would seem that an organization such as the Cato Institute would be a non profit, but the Koch bros are trying to take over via a shareholder agreement, and I don't understand why a non profit would have shareholders.
Cato is a registered 501(c)(3) corporation under the "private operating foundation" category. 501(c)(3) organizations can have owners, generate income, pay salaries, etc.


Quote:
I know they have an ideological goal, but I don't understand how they are supposed to make money
If you mean "how is Cato supposed to make money", the answer is that they accept donations to cover their operating costs. If you mean the Koch family, they don't expect to make money from this, at least not in the traditional sense of dividends, stock options, etc. Which leads us to:

Quote:
and why would you buy a share of a company of you don't expect to make money?
It's a good soapbox, and easy way to buy both political influence and media exposure. The presumption is that the Koch brothers are engaged in other business and political ventures outside the foundation, and that by gaining a larger degree of control over the foundation, they would be able to use it in ways which benefit their main income-producing activities (eg: by arguing, in the guise the the Cato Institute, in favor of laws and regulations which would make their other businesses easier and more profitable.)
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Cato is a registered 501(c)(3) corporation under the "private operating foundation" category. 501(c)(3) organizations can have owners, generate income, pay salaries, etc.


If you mean "how is Cato supposed to make money", the answer is that they accept donations to cover their operating costs. If you mean the Koch family, they don't expect to make money from this, at least not in the traditional sense of dividends, stock options, etc. Which leads us to:

It's a good soapbox.
Ok thanks, I just was confused as to how they generated income, by donations or some other means. The rest (Koch bros taking control of legit institution in order to advance their own agenda by making it look like said legit institution is coming up with or supporting their ideas) I get.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #14
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Thanks, I just spit Earl Grey tea onto my keyboard.
Was it hot?
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:28 PM   #15
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The Libertarian Party is a political party that advances libertarian views, one of which, is smaller gov't. The reason they are a minority party, has nothing to do with its "extremeness", unless one considers a view outside of gov't and mass media brainwashing as "extreme", such as, you know, not getting into pre-emptive wars with other nations, or, actually shrinking gov't, unlike the Republican party.

The Kochs appear to believe in some libertarian ideals, but at the same time, do some Corporatism (obviously, for their own benefit), which is against libertarian ideals. I don't know details about the Koch vs Cato kerfuffle, but what I do know is that the original founders of CATO wanted it to be an educational institute, but the Kochs who were major donors wanted to turn it into a lobbying group. The founders (Rothbard, et al) left because they considered that to be selling your soul to the devil.

One other interesting thing about Cato is that they became pro-central banking (a la Milton Friedman), maybe because the Kochs benefit from the central bank, whereas the founders were from the Austrian school of economics which is anti-central-banking-anti-monopoly-currency (and pro competing currencies). When one learns about how free market money would work (no monopoly central bank), it is odd to think that some people are "pro free market" and yet pro central banking. Cato's papers studiously avoid mentioning anything about Murray Rothbard, Von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek, the giants in the Austrian School.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:25 PM   #16
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Face it Jason there is very high alignment on a lot of issues between libertarians and the most corporate fascist who are among the most prominent and powerful manipulators of our political system.

I simply don’t trust people to run the government whose belief system basically says Greed is good and the free market will cure the evil. I’d prefer anarchy to that.

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Old 03-23-2012, 07:04 PM   #17
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Fascism = gov't and big biz in bed together. This is what we have today in many industries, worst being military-industrial, financial, and health care. It is not due to LACK of regulation, but due to the GUISE of regulation. What's going on is AGAINST free market principles.

In a free market there would be no sweetheart deals from gov't, there would be free entry for startups, and healthy competition. All these are good for the consumer (Setting aside the discussion of environmental regs and utilities and infrastructure for now).

Many industries are very free, such as software, electronics, and pet health care. It's no coincidence that these lightly regulated industries have very rapid innovation, low cost and high quality. It's no coincidence that the worst industries are those which are the most heavily regulated (the ones I mentioned earlier).
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:30 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Fascism = gov't and big biz in bed together. This is what we have today in many industries, worst being military-industrial, financial, and health care. It is not due to LACK of regulation, but due to the GUISE of regulation. What's going on is AGAINST free market principles.

In a free market there would be no sweetheart deals from gov't, there would be free entry for startups, and healthy competition. All these are good for the consumer (Setting aside the discussion of environmental regs and utilities and infrastructure for now).

Many industries are very free, such as software, electronics, and pet health care. It's no coincidence that these lightly regulated industries have very rapid innovation, low cost and high quality. It's no coincidence that the worst industries are those which are the most heavily regulated (the ones I mentioned earlier).
You had me nodding in agreement up to that. Then I started laughing my *** off so hard I ended up almost coughing up a lung.

P.S. I've spent $200 on a keyboard "from the olden days" recently - trust me, electronics and software are not necessarily better quality today than yesteryear.

Last edited by blaen99; 03-23-2012 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:37 PM   #19
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blaen,

You sure love to talk out of your ***. I design electronic subsystems for a living. For the last 20 years. I've had customers like Dell, Apple, Samsung, Sony, and LG. The life, reliability, failure and defect rate targets are more stringent than ever, and the competition is stiffer than ever.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:39 PM   #20
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blaen,

You sure love to talk out of your ***. I design electronic subsystems for a living. For the last 20 years. I've had customers like Dell, Apple, Samsung, Sony, and LG. The life, reliability, failure and defect rate targets are more stringent than ever, and the competition is stiffer than ever.
Explain the Model M keyboard compared to modern keyboards then please.

P.S. The shitty knockoffs from Unisys don't count.
P.P.S. I'm eagerly awaiting your response, since I have a very similar resume.
P.P.P.S. You'll note I said necessarily. This is the case in many areas, but reliability and longevity of modern electronics has nothing on the electronics of which I grew up on. Faster? Sure. More ability? Sure. But I don't consider a gadget high quality if the reliability and longevity of the device is lacking. I used to have a stack of expensive as hell keyboards and would go through them regularly at work - now I just have a single Model M which has lasted me forever.
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